Literature, #212


  212.  René Bouchet.  Portrait of Bennett Cerf. Charcoal on paper, (38 x 33.5 cm.) -- RBML, Bennett Cerf Papers (See fuller description below.)
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Bennett Cerf was born in 1898 in Manhattan and graduated from Columbia University with a degree in journalism. In 1925 he acquired the Modern Library with Donald Klopfer, providing the foundation for Random House Publishing. "I've got the name for our publishing operation. We just said we would publish a few books on the side at random. Let's call it Random House." Two years later the Random House colophon made its debut. Cerf was part of the vanguard of young New York publishers who revolutionized the business in the 1920s and 30s. He died in 1971.